On Salon, there is an absolutely fascinating piece on how the Maharashtrian surname Ghorpade came into being. Apparently the Marathi word for a monitor lizard is “ghorpad”. And the monitor lizard has a solid place in Maratha history/mythology/ folklore.
Legend has it that Chatrapati Shivaji‘s favourite general Tanaji Malusare breached the supposedly impregnable Sinhagad fort by tying a rope to the back of Shivaji’s pet monitor lizard, Yaswanthi. The lizard scaled a sheer cliff face beneath an unguarded section of the fort, secured itself in a crevice, and allowed Tanaji to climb up behind. Unfortunately, although the assault was successful, Tanaji died in the fighting.
If you knew this before, apologies for our ignorance.